Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Education is a Life, Vol. 1

Walking into a fine restaurant with your family, you are seated at the best table and, with a flourish, presented the menu. Opening the gilt-edged leather book in anticipation, you are shocked to find that all the restaurant serves is sawdust! Sure there is some mistake -- after all this is a Zagat five star restaurant, one of the most popular in town -- you look around and are astounded to find the surrounding customers chewing on bowls of sawdust.

Politely excusing yourselves, you head to the diner on the corner which is packed with people. This time you read the menu posted outside before entering. Sawdust. Though much more reasonably priced, you are loathe to enter. After all, not only do you not want to feed your children something dry and tasteless, you realize that even if they could swallow it harm would actually be done to their digestive system.

Though the above scenario may seem absurd, Charlotte Mason used the same image of a sawdust diet to help us understand what she meant by the term "Education is a Life." A living education, one where we nourish our children with spirit-stirring ideas, the "food of the intellectual life," is compared to a meager diet of mere information, opinions and statements of fact. Bland and devoid of ideas, like "sawdust in the system, an impediment and an injury to the vital processes." (CM, vol. 2 pg 38)

Happily, you will find no sawdust on the menu today as we have a feast of ideas for your enjoyment at the Education is a Life, Vol. 1 edition of The Charlotte Mason blog carnival!

These first posts really clarify what is meant by the third prong of Charlotte's maxim, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life" as it is so much more than the use of great literature. I can't think of a better way to begin than with the encouraging words of Nadene, who presents Education is a Life posted at PracticalPages.

Aylin then gives us more food for thought with the very bread of life posted at Love and Happiness.

Barb reflects on the truly important in building a House of Education in Education is a Life: Truly Home Educating posted at Harmony Art Mom.

Nancy completely impressed me with her cool and calm response in Great Books and Great Ideas - Why Bother? posted at Sage Parnassus.

Speaking of great ideas, what happens when one seems to completely pass by our child? Mama Squirrel tells us in There are no guarantees...but it's still worth our time over at Dewey's Treehouse.

Traci then reminds us of words from the Lord of Hosts and the faith it takes to sow and wait in Cultivating a Harvest posted at Traci's Teaching Times.

Didn't have time to get to the suggested reading for the carnival? Amber lists the quotes she doesn't want to forget in Charlotte Mason: Education Is a Life posted at The Mommy Earth.

Charlotte Mason likens the potency of the opening of an idea to a trout rising "to a well-chosen fly." Lanaya gives us a great example in An Idea that Caught Hold posted at Gore Family News.

The presentation of "ideas of nature to chosen minds throughout history by One Higher than Nature" was discussed by Charlotte Mason in our readings (Vol. 6 pg 106). Those ideas of nature can only take hold if we are out in nature and Barb beautifully shares Hikes During The Day to Our Outdoor Laboratory posted at Handbook of Nature Study, saying, "Taking time for nature study during the day is a part of our high school education....it is part of our life."

Those wonderful quotes from Anna Botsford Comstock are appropriately followed by Sherry's 50 Outdoor Activities Your Children Will Love over at Living and Learning.

Then Ann presents Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Series #9 Mammals and #45 Squirrels posted at Harvest Moon by Hand.

A generous curriculum helps ensure a steady diet of ideas and our next posts concern just that. Robin presents Parents As History Sources: Ideas for Projects posted at Crack the Egg.

Next, see just how practical Latin is as Lizzie muses on teaching and learning Latin over at A Dusty Frame.

Jennifer presents A (Printable) Poem Every Month: March posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "Read a poem to your kids every month, with a short readable biography of the author. What could be easier?"

My oldest is a devoted fan of Tricia's brilliantly published tutorials. At The Beach: A Pastels Tutorial can be found at Hodgepodge, saying, "How we remedied not getting to head out of town for spring break :) Nana's latest art lesson in photo tutorial form."

Then, take a moving journey with Michelle as she narrates Our Road to a Charlotte Mason Education posted at Holistic Homeschooler.

Charlotte Mason tells us "Nothing but ideas can attack the soul so that the ideas really make up the mind" (Vol. 6, pg 113). A good thing to keep in mind as Jennifer asks us to consider a quote by Charlotte Mason in Agree or Disagree? provocatively posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "Came across a controversial passage in Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography, and I'm wondering what other parents think..."

Having not yet read CM's Elementary Geography, I haven't formed an opinion but will read yours with interest.

Just as our body needs food as sustenance, we will surely suffer without a continuation of living ideas. All roads lead to Shalom Hill Farm in Windom, Minnesota as Nancy invites us to attend the Sixth Annual Living Education Retreat posted at Sage Parnassus.

That concludes this hearty edition. Our next topic at the Charlotte Mason blog carnival is a favorite - Living Books (cheers and whistles).

Suggested reading is a lively Parents' Review article Schoolbooks and How They Make for Education by Charlotte Mason, Volume 11, 1900, pgs. 448-464 or your favorite volume of The Original Homeschooling Series.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Charlotte Mason blog carnival
using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Now, the lyrics to Oliver's "Food, Glorious Food" have been running wildly through my mind ever since these posts started rolling in. Sing it with me...

Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty-four
All we ever get is gru...el!
Ev'ry day we say our prayer --
Will they change the bill of fare?
Still we get the same old gru...el!


Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed --
Still worth a king's ransom!
What is it we dream about?
What brings on a sigh?
Piled peaches and cream, about
Six feet high!


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Thanks Richele for hosting this edition of the carnival. I thought this was a hard topic to write about and I guess that others felt the same way. I do appreciate the entries and will try to visit them all in the next week to read and ponder.

Thanks for sharing the illustration at the top of the entry about sawdust, it is something I had missed.

Mama Squirrel said...

Hi Richele! I wrote one too--did it end up in the spam box?

Melissa said...

Looks just lovely! Well done!

Jimmie said...

Two thumbs up!

Hodgepodgemom said...

Beautifully put together Richele! Looking forward to these. And I love the Food! Glorious Food! ~Tricia

Charlotte Mason in the City said...

Yes, the sawdust. Sometimes I peek at what others are doing, what others claim is so terrific, and it seems like...sawdust. I struggle to explain exactly what I don't like, but the word "sawdust" explains it quite well. (Welcome home.:))

Richele said...

Thanks everyone. We just returned from NYC and I'll spare you the gory details of what it took to get a carnival up on an ancient laptop from a hotel room. We'll call it a "labor of love" and leave it at that.

Now that we are home, I will be sure to visit any posts that ye old mac couldn't open whilst traveling.

@Mama Squirrel, I searched high and low for your post but couldn't find it anywhere. I just snagged it off your sight. Sorry - maybe it is frolicking through the midway of some other carnival.

There were a few in the auto-html block that didn't come to my inbox so if any of you had a specific "Education is a Life" that you sent that didn't make it, please send it to my email via my profile. Otherwise, there's a good chance it is already at the next host's place.

@CM in the City - I know. It's akin to pretending to like one of those healthy cardboard-tasting snack bars a well-meaning friend gives you.

Happy reading!

Mama Squirrel said...

Thanks for adding me in! I really like that photo of the books too.

Nancy said...

This looks wonderful, Richele. Thank you for taking time during your vacation to put this carnival together. Now, to find some quiet space to read them all!

Sursum Corda,

Nick Manson said...


Toyin O. said...

It looks really nice, thanks for sharing:)

Amber said...

Thanks for hosting! Liked your opening. :)

joyfulmum said...

Thanks Richele for hosting this and all while you were on holidays too! you are amazing!
I am going to head over and check out some of those posts...can't wait!

Penney Douglas said...

I couldn't find the carnival at first. But I'm glad I asked Amy and found you! Wonderful allegory to introduce the topic. Thank you for hosting. Simply marvelous!

Eve said...

This carnival looks terrific! I can hardly wait to start reading the posts linked to here. Wonderful job!

Bethany said...

Thank you so much for hosting. I am curled up on the sofa ready to dig in!